Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittany Murphy shines in 'Cherry Falls'

Actress Brittnay Murphy died today from cardiac arrest at the age of 32. I only saw her in a single film, but she was the best part of it. In fact, she made a fairly mediocre slasher film into a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Cherry Falls (2000)
Starring: Brittany Murphy, Michael Biehn, Jay Mohr, and Gabriel Mann
Director: Geoffrey Wright
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

When three teens are tortured and murdered in the small Virginia town of Cherry Falls, it quickly becomes evident that the victims are linked by two things: They went to the same high school and they were virgins. What dark secret are the leading citizens of Cherry Falls keeping that's getting their (non-sexually active) children killed?

"Cherry Falls" is a mildly suspenseful slasher-flick that's remarkable first by the fact that it takes a prime convention and turns it upside-down: The promiscuous kids are safe in this one... it's the ones that are keeping their pants on that are at risk; and second that the characters are actually intelligent. Only once does a character fall show traits of "horror movie braindeadness" where they go into a dark and creepy place... but it's in a spot where she has no reason to suspect that any danger could be lurking.

Good acting from an attractive cast--with Brittnay Murphy being particularly excellent--and some well-execute plot-twists go a long way to making this film worth seeing. It's not a masterpiece, but it's not bad either. It's low on bodycount as far as slasher flicks go, but what kills it does feature are brutal and shocking.